Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Excitement!

I may be out of touch for a bit here now, I start my new job tomorrow! Our team is doing a bunch of vegetation surveying/sampling in eastern Nevada so the system is basically eight days on, six days off. We drive way the hell out there and camp out for eight days, work eight ten-hour days (hell, when the light wakes you up at six, you might as well be working by seven, no lingering in a cozy bed out there) and then come home for six days off in a row.

That means six days of quality time off for projects when I am home! The backyard is in a respectable state right now and I have a bit of money to devote to it so I am going to tackle the front yard... you may remember we killed the lawn and stuck in a tree and a couple of shrubs. Now we are going to put in the rest of the shrubs and perennials that are in my plan and rebuild the watering system so they can all get watered on a timer. And it will look much nicer than a weedy expanse of decomposed granite. I like decomposed granite, don't get me wrong, but there is a LOT of it. Consider, the space I am working with is approximately 20' by 47' and currently has two ambitious but small shade trees and a slightly wimpy flagstone path, as well as about eight perennials I transplanted from the backyard. There will be more.

The current plant list includes:
Russian sage
low-growing juniper
red yarrow
red hot poker
and some daylilies if I get lazy at the end. There are already some of these things out there so I am amplifying on the existing theme. And even with all this added in it will still take a fraction of the water that the lawn did.

Sunset doesn't have a ton of representative photos for what I am trying to do but they do have some nice "replace your lawn with ___" articles. This is from one of them, it is vaguely like what I am going for, just a nice combo of evergreen shrubs and hearty perennials to bring in the bees and butterflies.

Here is another fun one. I can't follow all their plant choices but I am definitely going to include some fun stuff like echinacea and penstemon eventually once I figure out where things will all be. I just want to get a basic framework in so I can lay the drip, then I will probably add more perennials in the fall once I see how things are doing. I don't spend time in the front yard like I do in the back (no real porch or hangout area), so I want it to be minimal maintenance once it is all in. Then I can spend more time working on my backyard!

The only thing I think I need to spend more time on is finding some more evergreens - the barberry, which has fantastic deep burgundy leaves, drops them in the fall, exposing its bright red berries, but once the birds spot them there goes my visual interest. Most everything else gets cut back to a clump in the fall. So based on my current list it's just juniper. But that's not uncommon around here. I need to do some scoping out of the local yards to see what else looks good in the evergreen dept.

And it may be epically nerdy, but I may be taking my Nevada Gardening Guide with me into the field this week.

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